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Great Falls man aims for title of "World's Favorite Chef"

Chef Justin Millikan
Posted at 6:11 PM, Feb 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-25 13:37:20-05

GREAT FALLS — Chef Justin Millikan works at Benefis Health System, and he has the chance to be named the world’s favorite chef in a contest.

The Favorite Chef Contest works with Feeding America to donate a portion of the proceeds from the competition to fight hunger and food insecurity. One contestant will be named "World’s Favorite" and win $50,000; the contest organizer also says the winner will be featured in a two-page advertisement in Bon Appétit magazine.

If Millikan wins, he says the money will go to the seniors he serves every day at Benefis: “I plan on donating those winnings to our senior care residents and patients within Benefis. Parties, medical bills, something, we know they’ve been stuck and we want to see them happy."

The staff working with Chef Millikan each day believes he’s the chef of choice to be named favorite. “It’s wonderful to watch him work. He’s amazing and cooks really outstanding food. Just a really great guy to work for,” said Mike Klesh, Benefis cafe employee.

Working in the kitchen every day is where Millikan feeds his passion. His signature dish is black bear braised with Montana chokecherry wine and huckleberries, served in a crispy potato cup with sautéed Brussels sprout leaves, peppery dill sour cream, and garlic chips.

"I really enjoy the process of getting to where you’re enjoying a dish with all your senses. That every part of your mind body and soul that looks at something and it reminds of your past, so if you can hit that sweet spot. 'This tastes like my grandma made it,' that’s the nail you want to hit. My passion with cooking is really wanting to bring that to somebody’s mind and heart. Good memories, comfort, peace,” said Millikan.

Click here if you would like to vote for Chef Millikan. You can submit one free vote daily or up to ten votes every day through monetary donations to Feeding America. Voting for the top 15 ends Thursday, February 25, at 6pm.

NOTE: On February 17, Bon Appétit tweeted a statement that the magazine's editorial team does not endorse the contest, according to AZcentral.com.